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I know you're gonna hate this mix

Hey, y'all! My name is James I am new here, and new to mixing/mastering. This is not my original creation. I just remixed and mastered the raw multitrack from cambridge-mt.com's newbie mixing section. Original Artists website here: https://www.bolzund…

It's my very first attempt at mixing and mastering anything. But, I have been researching for quite a while gathering knowledge, tips, and tricks, as well as the appropriate software for five years. So you could say I practiced a lot in my head! lol. 

A tasty jazzy guitar/sax duet

How did I do?

Comments

Anonymous Wed, 12/29/2021 - 12:44

Its a track called 'Summertime' by Bolz & Knecht, a funky dutch duet.

I've attached the raw mixdown as a 320kbs mp3 converted from https://previews.ca…

You can find their official published mix on their website - It's called Summertime:
https://www.bolzund…

I may be biased but I think mine sounds better! Lol

Anonymous Wed, 12/29/2021 - 15:15

Thanks, Audiokid! I learned a lot of tips for mixing reverb from Joe Gilder at PreSonus on their YouTube channel. Lots of parallel processing and post-reverb EQ to remove the mud and whoosh.

I started off with zero plugins, went up to 50, and ended with about 20 or so. You should have heard the interim mix, it was terrible. Hahaha!

Anonymous Thu, 12/30/2021 - 01:05

In reply to by audiokid

So when I heard you say I needed to bring the Sax volume down, I felt humbled and I am so thankful for your input! I thought I had mastered this track until your feedback sent me back into 'the box' faster than a zooming cat... lol!

This is what I came up with, my friend. All I have for monitoring is a set of AKG k240's and some Skullcandy Earbuds, so I am super curious how that translates to actual studio monitors, and or other consumer sources. :)

I hope you like it!

audiokid Thu, 12/30/2021 - 13:08

In reply to by Anonymous

In most cases, reducing less plugins can be a very good thing as I find (especially with large track counts) they can dramatically slow down processing, cause latency, bleed , smearing and overall become too much of a good thing. I try to avoid using too many instances of a certain plugin.

My general rule with reverb, I'll get the main reverb on the master buss/aux right off the start of a mix.  I try and stick with one main room so I have less chances of two different types of reverbs clashing. But of course there are other reasons to use reverb plugins when sound designing individual instruments etc. I find one main stereo reverb on the master bus keeps the overall focus of a mix tighter and more natural sounding.

In the end though.. there are no rules as it all comes down to what works for each and every mix. You've done a good job keeping this mix sounding real, yet big and natural sounding. Its common for new engineers to over process acoustic music like jazz, folk etc.

Anonymous Thu, 12/30/2021 - 19:22

I feel so welcome here. I appreciate the wisdom you are sharing, no doubt from lots of practice and err, and maybe even others reaching out to help you learn and grow. 

I've been wanting to get into Sound Engineering for a while now, and I was not able to for various reasons. Here I go though! Haha. I appreciate your encouragement. And I hope to pass it along.

audiokid Thu, 12/30/2021 - 19:34

I feel so welcome here. I appreciate the wisdom you are sharing, no doubt from lots of practice and err, and maybe even others reaching out to help you learn and grow. 

I've been wanting to get into Sound Engineering for a while now, and I was not able to for various reasons. Here I go though! Haha. I appreciate your encouragement. And I hope to pass it along.

Well thank you, James!

Its really good to have you here with us as well. Recording.org was the first (all) pro audio community that I founded back in 1999. Our content is full of all sorts of gems and our members here are kind and generous. Some go back to the old Motown years.

Anonymous Thu, 12/30/2021 - 19:38

I'm sure you did that in less time than it took me to make my rough draft. Haha!

I did notice an artifact on the left channel once in a while. I check on both my sets of headphones. And it's pop only on the left channel twice at the beginning of the track and a couple of times throughout. This causes me to think that you may have much nicer headphones, and or a set of very nice studio monitors that can handle the extra impulse energy. 

But that aside, I really like the vibe and the balance. :)  I'm so happy you mixed it too! Such a great resource of info hearing other points of reference!

audiokid Thu, 12/30/2021 - 19:39

Another attempt as I also find it helpful to listen to my mixes online to compare. I added a bit more lower mids to this.

audiokid Thu, 12/30/2021 - 20:26

I did notice an artifact on the left channel once in a while. I check on both my sets of headphones. And it's pop only on the left channel twice at the beginning of the track and a couple of times throughout.

Good ear! Thank you for listening close and for mentioning this. My old ears don't get past 16k. I'm past my prime lol. I saw the clip on my wav but didn't hear it so I exported it. You using headphones, good for you. You can always hear everything much better but they can be problematic when mixing.

Regarding my process... I did this sitting in front of my TV using a Sonas surround system (I do not recommend but its fun lol!). Took me about 15 min. I try not to listen too long on a mix because I will get ear fatigue. I try and do a mix as quickly as possible. Most of the time spent is always setting up the mix. Once its ready to go, I try and get it done quickly (without rushing of course). If I'm not getting it the way I hope for, I will generally do other things to let my ears relax. Been doing it that way for decades.

My DAW is Samplitude. 

Anonymous Thu, 12/30/2021 - 20:33

I am still hearing the popping sound and only on the left channel. Maybe a better term would be a hard clip in the low frequencies. Like maybe the sound of a driver bottoming out even at extremely low volumes. 

But listening through - to the rest of your mix - I really like it. 

You're welcome! And, holy smokes, I had no idea this place has such a history! I'm glad this place turned up in my search. 

If I may ask, what got you into Sound Engineering?

And do you mix in the box, or do you run outboard gear too? 

Lots of curiosity here, I hope I'm not imposing. :)

 

Anonymous Thu, 12/30/2021 - 20:53

I really like the idea of mixing on nonconventional gear. I have heard that some of the greats have gone from being hardcore gearheads, insisting on the best hardware consoles and monitors that money can buy, only to switch gears late in their career and mix purely in the box on a pair of Sony MDR 7506 headphones. haha. 

So, I imagine that the surround system you have is loads of fun. 

I have been heavily warned about ear fatigue and hearing damage, so I thank you for reinforcing that.
I look forward to developing the decision-making you seem to have, in order to be able to mix efficiently without getting lost in the weeds with possibilities. I'm sure I'll develop in time. And it is again so encouraging to hear that you are not a "this is the only way to mix" kind of rule-setter. It sounds like you are open to perspectives other than your own, and want to lend your experience to young pups such as myself. I really appreciate that. :)

My DAW is Studio One and I try to keep my plug-in choices as stock as possible. There is a lifetime's worth of tinkering that could be done with all the free plug-ins available. I know because a couple of years ago, I'm pretty sure I downloaded 90% of them. Hahaha. I never got around to using them and I'm glad because now I am feeling like it's better to keep as simple of a workflow as possible. 

I'd be really interested if you have a portfolio or references for any of your work. :) If not, I am just happy to be here and to meet you and I hope to continue to grow with the community. 

audiokid Thu, 12/30/2021 - 23:20

Thanks for the critical ear and making this fun! Feel free to ask away. I'll answer your question for sure. :)

Here's another crack at it. I pulled the limiter down a smidgen and lessened the top upper freq width on an expander. 
Very fun track to mix. Maybe others will give it a go too. 

Summertime 2_0.mp3

Anonymous Fri, 12/31/2021 - 15:38

Proper balance seems to be a tough thing to achieve in the mix and in life - without help from another - wouldn't you say? :)

This indeed is great fun, and it takes mutual participation to make it that way!

There seems to still be one hard clip left @ 1:46 in the low end. 

I noticed that you managed to make them sound like they are both on the same stage, slightly above the level of the listener, and equidistant from each other and the listener, maybe say 15 feet? And the Sax is still clear, yet silky smooth with a lot less top end. I can see how maybe a surround sound system helps a skilled engineer with pinpoint imaging!

I hope others join in too! There are tons of free multitrack available at Cambridge Music Technology's website: https://cambridge-m…

They even broke it down into three levels. Newbies, Intermediate, and Advanced.

So, Mr. Audiokid, what got you into mixing/sound engineering?

 

audiokid Fri, 12/31/2021 - 17:46

You are very perceptive! 

I generally try to picture a mix from the audience pov (when I have that creative privilege).

With this song then, I am imaging an acoustic group playing on a coble stone walkway setting, with people walking by. I am standing about 20 feet back listening to them. 
 

The original mix reverb and space that it was recorded in, slightly confuses me to where this performance is so my instinct is to create it.

I would like to add an outdoor ambience to this mix. 

Re: what got me into mixing/sound engineering…

I was a professional musician for a few decades. I also learned a lot about sound and gear from this.
When I stopped traveling to work on original music, I bought some land to build a small studio.
When the internet started, I discovered audio engineers on user groups around.

 I saw a need for creating a social media community specifically focusing on pro audio.
Knowing enough to start my own community, in 1999 I built this community and from that over the years, I’ve been blessed to be able to learn stuff I would never have known.
From all this, I’ve had the pleasure of reading thousands of posts about recording, mixing and mastering and acquired very cool gear from many manufacturers over these years.

 

Anonymous Fri, 12/31/2021 - 22:52

Thank you. :) I was given the perception and desire to pursue its development by Jehovah God.

The story of your vision while you mixed this track is inspiring!

It sounds like you have had a passion for music for quite some time. I am guessing many Engineers, of all backgrounds and skill levels, have honed their craft while benefiting from this community you founded, connecting with one another, and sharing knowledge. I can see why it was in the top search results. Thank you for seeing the need and moving forward with your vision. :) I am certainly excited to explore it. 

It also sounds like you had a lot of fun creating music. I can only imagine the stories you must have.

As for my mix, I sort of stumbled my way through the task of imaging it. But towards the end, I began imagining I was sitting next to a Guitarist in the Studio, when the setting shifts suddenly to a bench in a Small Subway Tunnel where a Saxophonist approaches and chimes in from the right - still somewhat in the distance - like a small spontaneous jam session.

Regarding my drive to become a Sound Engineer:

While playing guitar in my teens, I traded computer gear(one of my earliest passions) for an original Audio Technica USB Mic. The annoying one without any controls and the built-in compressor/expander that has a mind of its own, haha! I made a terrible recording in Audacity (The only free mildly capable tracking software I could find at the time) and I began wondering what it would be like to learn to record and produce my own music - having no clue as to how much is truly involved. Then turns were taken in my life and all efforts to continue were unfortunately held back for years. It's taken me a while to get to a place where I can really focus any time and effort on it. Here I am though. It's been in the back of my mind the entire time, as a hope. I gathered a bit of knowledge, software, and a very simple but capable set of gear to get started.

Thus far I have the Upgraded AT2020USB+ Model with built-in DAC/AMP and volume/mix controls. It's a little more sensitive to room sound than the XLR version but I am confident I can make it work. Also, from what I have learned 90 percent of Engineers I hear about these days are working with 48k tracks anyways. Obviously, I see the application for 192k but I am not doing voice-overs for Hollywood with insane budgets for processing power... 

I have a Breedlove mahogany solid top Acoustic/Electric Guitar, an 88 Key Entry-Level MIDI Controller from Nektar, and Studio One Professional with about a thousand free plugins and sample packs I collected in an obsessive fit a couple of years ago. I have yet to install and use more than a few of them, but I sense that as my skills grow, I will find free versions of the more complex mixing and mastering do-dads in that collection, and we all could save a dollar or two these days, eh? Hahaha! My choices were based on what I could spend the least, yet get the most and longest return on investment possible.

My true desire now is to learn as much as I can and develop mastery in this art, as well as relevant ones - such as Video editing/CGI Compositing - so as to be able to serve as an Audio-Video Engineer at a new Media Production Facility being built in Ramapo, New York by 2026

So I started my first mix about a week ago. And I am quite an introvert with few friends and no one who I thought could really give me authoritative feedback, so I searched out a forum for Mix Engineers, and here you are, and here I am. :)

Now that I have discovered I actually have an aptitude for it I feel like I should just dive in and learn as much as possible as fast as I effectively can. 

A few years ago, I recorded an Original Acoustic Instrumental and a Sound Engineer who I no longer work with or have contact with, mixed the single track, and ran it through some "Real Circuits" for me. I had a much cheaper USB Mic, very little knowledge about Music Production, and a $50 Pawn-Shop Guitar, I don't even remember the brand. I I made a lot of timing errors, but I recorded it in one take and called it a day. Lol. I had tremendous mic fright back then. I hope to add a marching snare, and maybe some ambiance of some sort to it when I eventually rerecord it.
 

Anonymous Sat, 01/01/2022 - 18:06

I personally think that so much modern music is stale and "studio-fied", if you will. I imagine back in the days of baroque and classical - some of my favorite genres of music - that they played outdoors a LOT. And you would hear the wind, and the song of creeping insects of all sorts, and random sounds. Like when an outdoor orchestra approaches crescendo and thunder rolls in but they keep playing through it, risking the long-term integrity of their instruments for the sake of the moment.
 

I do indeed understand the need for sterile uncolored recordings. But there is something lost in the direction modern music is heading in my opinion. And it is so refreshing to hear that you have an "outdoor" approach in your mixing toolbag. :) I can't wait to hear it!

audiokid Sat, 01/01/2022 - 22:48

Edited:

Good to hear your playing. Very nice. Its excellent to hear your inspiration comes from your faith. The world is suffering from lack of these days. There is a huge need and market for christian music. Good on you 👍🏼

Regarding your mix:  Aside from being an excellent first for you! ... I’ll add my two cents with some reference links for readers stumbling across this thread,

I noticed some gate processing which I would personally avoid.

  • Noise gates  opening and closing while recording soft acoustic songs like this should be avoided. My initial  step: focus on sounding live and flowing. A noise gate immediately deflects the performance.

I notice some fret squeak which I leave most of the time but if interested in removing them… there are advanced methods to removing background noise fret squeak

I'm not a recordist but in general I’ve read  if you want to reduce unwanted ambience in a small room when recording an acoustic guitar , an inexpensive dynamic mic can do wonders.

I’m certain other members can help on the micing but when you have opportunity to do another track, and if you have more mic choices… this post on using a dynamic or sdc mic might help for recording in small rooms.

and finally… Finding the best location in the room and having some acoustic treatment or even a gobo will go a long way. I can hear your room is untreated and if you add some treatment it will sound much better. 

When I've had to record in a room the size of a closet, I would try an kill some of the acoustics with room treatment, then emulate the room using a natural reverb setting. This way you don't hear the wall reflections that also cause all sorts of comb filtering and phase issues in the recording. 

Thank you for sharing your song.👍🏼

 

haely69 Wed, 06/01/2022 - 22:22

Hi, you're mixing is really great! 

I have been reading quite a few different things regarding two different ways that people mix tracks, whether it be via this a field recorder/mixer (like my F6) or via a studio mixing deck.

1) This is the way I have understood from learning the last week, to be the most efficient way, particularly for field recording - set the gain/trim level of each mic (signal) - then use the faders to adjust the final output and ratio of each mic to the final stereo track.

however I have also since read this method....

2) Set the faders to 0 ''unity'' - leave them there and then use the gain/trim to adjust the final output signal and ratio of each mic to the final stereo mix.

Now to me number 1 seems the most logical, especially when there are actually fader knobs (particularly on the F6)... So yeah is there a wrong or right answer? Is one more efficient than the other? or is it purely a case of each can work and so its whichever works best for the individual?

x

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